Drive Smart columnist Tim Schewe.

Drivesmart BC: Rules of turning right on a red light

It requires a full stop before turning

By Tim Schewe

Here is another request from a correspondent: “If you have not commented on right turns at red lights you might want to consider it. I see so many people that fail to stop at a red light when turning right. They seem to feel that all they have to do is yield. Unless the rules have changed, it requires a full stop before turning.”

Right turn on red was implemented to save time and fuel for drivers. As part of Vision Zero, the emphasis on moving motor vehicles at the cost of other road users is being reconsidered for urban areas.

Unless you are facing a no right turn on red sign, making a right turn at a red traffic light is legal in British Columbia.

Drivers & Cyclists:

Stop

• Cessation of vehicle movement is mandatory!

• Stop behind the stop line or crosswalk

• A pedestrian who is authorized to enter the intersection has the right of way

Look

• Are allowed to make a right turn on a red light?

• Yield the right of way to pedestrians, vehicles and cyclists that have entered or are about to enter the intersection

• Shoulder check to make sure no pedestrians or cyclists are present.

Decide

• You are not required to turn right at a red light. You are allowed to wait for the green light.

• Having done all of this, you may then turn right, if it is safe to do so.

Pedestrians: you must always be careful at intersections where vehicles turn right at a red light

Stop

• Stop on the sidewalk or side of the road if there is no sidewalk

• Look: look left, ahead, right and over your left shoulder to make sure no vehicles or cyclists are about to turn right

• Decide: once you are certain the way is clear and the walk signal is on, you can cross

Beware, while this is allowed in British Columbia, it may not be the case in other states and provinces. Check the local rules before you attempt this elsewhere!

Where are most drivers likely to be looking before they turn right on red, especially if they don’t intend to stop? To their left of course! This puts pedestrians and cyclists at risk.

According to RoadSafetyBC, 23 per cent of fatalities, 46 per cent of injuries and 35 per cent of all crashes occur at intersections.

Is it worth the couple of seconds saved if the action results in a collision? I don’t know about you, but my driver’s door doesn’t seem anywhere near strong enough to prevent another vehicle from intruding into the passenger compartment and causing significant injury to me.

Tim Schewe is a retired constable with many years of traffic law enforcement. To comment or learn more, please visit DriveSmartBC.ca

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